Dwarf Fortress Talk #2, with Rainseeker, Capntastic, Ampersand and Toady One, transcribed by mallocks

1. The siege.
    1a. How long have sieges been in Dwarf Fortress and what is their purpose?
    1b. Sieges versus traps.
    1c. Do invaders actually have goals when they invade?
    1d. Is there ever going to be a time when goblins demand tribute?
    1e. Is there a possibility through the siege mechanisms to start eliminating entire populations?
    1f. Will sieges tie into wars?
    1g. Possible triggers for war.
2. Megabeasts.
3. Spheres and the undead.
4. Are tree nerds going to get any love?
5. Will the new cavern system exist in every biome?
6. Will animals be eating soon?
7. Will dwarves ever be able to figure out an order for digging on their own?
8. Arena mode.
9. Do you ever play any of the mods for Dwarf Fortress in your spare time?
10. Do you ever plan on having some HFS that isn't immediately out to kill you?
11. What will you be able to do to exposed guts?
12. Plans for gods.
13. What do you think about the 3D utilities for Dwarf Fortress? Would you ever consider using such a system in the main Dwarf Fortress program?
14. What does your day look like?
15. How do you pronounce Urist?

Rainseeker:Hey everybody, welcome to the second episode of Dwarf Fortress Talk. This is Rainseeker here and I'm here with Capntastic ...
Rainseeker:... Toady One of course ...
Rainseeker:... and our guest host Ampersand!
Ampersand:Err, evening.
Rainseeker:Welcome. We're going to discuss things all things dwarfenly and fortressy, as usual. [1]Today's topic, which was voted by the community was 'the siege'. Have you guys ever had this happen to you, you create a bridge to protect you from a siege, put a moat around your fortress and attach a lever to [the bridge], and then when the goblins show up you couldn't find anybody to pull the damn thing. Or you cut down all your trees to piss off the elves and find your dwarves riddled with elven arrows. Well, we're here today to talk about the siege and maybe some megabeast action too since everyone seemed to want to talk about it so much. [1a]So, Tarn, how long have sieges been in Dwarf Fortress and what is their purpose.
Toady:Sieges have been in Dwarf Fortress since before it was released, I guess around 2004. There were originally underground ones that came from the 2D chasm type thing that was there, you'd have animals come out of there; you'd have these escalating goblin sieges and you'd also have the year 6 attack by undead where all the bodies in your fortress raise up and start killing you siege. When we moved away from having set sieges and more towards civilizations in the world that changed a little bit although there's still a lot of artificial stuff around sieges like the way that the goblins just kind of ramp up without respecting their civilizations. The main idea is at first just to add something for you to do in kind of a fantasy combat type of way, because there's the underground and then there's the outside and the idea with the siege is to give you some kind of challenges associated to that. As we improve the interactions with the outside world it'll be more just to drive the plot of whatever's going on while at the same time trying to respect the notion that it's still a computer game and you can't just get jumped by two hundred goblins right at the beginning or something like that because your fortress happens to be in the wrong place, although that wouldn't necessarily be off-limits as long as there's some other stuff to balance that out like your civilization helping you out or something like that.
Rainseeker:I know that my very first fortress was wiped out by a goblin siege that I did not realise would show. I had no clue how to play and it showed up and killed everybody basically. Capntastic and Ampersand, what has your guys' experience been with sieges.
Capntastic:I've never really had problems with sieges it's always self-sabotage that causes problems really. I dunno, it's pretty fun just to have waves of guys running into your swords, but I'm looking forward to in the future them being a bit more clever, I guess? A little bit more planning involved.
Rainseeker:Yeah, because, right now the way I defend against a siege is I ignore it, pretty much; [1b]I put up a bunch of traps and they all die, then they run away.
Toady:Yeah, right now they're ridiculous. Just kind of a meat grinder simulator. Any time you've got people taking a core game mechanic and treating it like it's sort of an optional challenge - are you going to build traps or not, because then sieges matter, or they don't - that's something that needs to be fixed. It's always been the plan to fix that and there's a million different ways to do that that are all going to be coming up. After this big release we're going to work on making sieges better and a lot of the things you guys said are in the works, and more beside that. So there's the notion of nerfing traps because obviously they're a little overpowered right now, and how we'd do that ... probably just make more mechanisms necessary, more map tiles necessary, so you can't just make a trap, you'd actually have to create a trap from some more pieces. I don't know if there might be templates to make that an easier process but certainly just having a weapon trap existing in a square without having to put something in a wall or put something in a floor is kind of strange, and having a stone-fall trap exist in a square out in the middle of a room with no ceiling ... what does that even mean? Is it shooting up from the ground and then landing on top of them? It's kind of weird. So just changing that would be helpful, but then also having the siegers be able to learn from their mistakes ... like when they send people in they should have an idea - it's a little complicated thinking about how they analyse the map and so on, but you can take some steps in that direction - and then if they have a notion of sending a group of people into a certain direction and then all those people die, if they know why then they should be able to adapt their strategy. If they just get ground by traps then they'd either have some counter-measure for that kind of trap or they just wouldn't go that way again. Ultimately there should be counter-measures for every kind of terrain, every kind of trap, every kind of weapon, to the point where you should have to adapt. You shouldn't expect to be able to just win every siege with some kind of static defence that you haven't been changing at all. There [are] always going to be very clever things people do that we constantly have to adapt to, but as far as the basic defences that are provided by the game, it's not like any of those should be sure things; it's not like we want every siege to destroy you, but they should have a chance to be able to do something. And there's a list of other things, the siegers in general are very poorly skilled compared to your dwarves, and they don't have a notion of which direction they're attacking from, they don't use any siege engines, they don't know how to make little bridges, or pile up dirt against a wall, or bring a siege tower against a wall ... There's a lot of things that they could afford to learn, and there's also the use of large monsters and things that are in a fantasy world that provide benefit, such as things that fly or things that can dig, which I know is a contentious issue, whether or not they would be able to dig, which is kind of a crucial thing when you're considering attacking a mountain. If you don't have other options and you have a lot of time, then digging is a pretty good idea, [but] at the same time I know there's kind of this aesthetics issue, you don't want people to just be able to destroy your own fortress sometimes. What we're thinking is having it default 'on', and if you turn off digging siegers then you can't really expect to do that well; it's all a matter of what people want out of the game, some people don't care about sieges at all and would just as soon turn them off and just like making their fortress and so on. [In summary], we're planning to support that kind of stuff.
Rainseeker:I think it that it'd be neat if you allowed us to restore walls - like they're caving in little segments of wall - so that once the siege is gone you could restore your fortress to its former beauty, you know for the people that are annoyed by the digging.
Toady:Yeah, there's revealed tiles ... I think someone suggested being able to unreveal tiles which I've got no problem with because it's not like that's giving you any benefit, it's just an aesthetic thing. As far as rebuilding walls ... it's sort of weird to be able to rebuild something like an ore vein, like put the crystals back or something ...
Capntastic:The dwarves are really good ...
Toady:Yeah, that's the thing ... dwarves are talented. It's something that could be ... It's strange, I'd have to think about how does that work, what are they doing, are they just tying it together with special dwarf beard hair or something like that that makes it work or ...
Rainseeker:They could just be packing [...] the rocks back in, you know the default rocks that are there.
Toady:It's not like it's the end of the world for me if someone has a wall that looks how they want it to look, right? I shouldn't care about that, but there's just this kind of strangeness to being able to create a perfect rock wall, in terms of the fact that people that are attacking you that mine through it would then have as much trouble as if they were mining through a wall unless there's some kind of flag that says 'this is actually just a rebuilt pile of crap' or something, right? It still bears some thinking about but I'm definitely aware of the aesthetic side of things and I think it's important that a game mechanic just doesn't destroy that for people, especially people that care, and if we can preserve sieges at the same time, like full fully functional sieges that can dig through things, even for people that care more about the aesthetics of their fortress, that would be the best way to do it, but at the same time I don't want to add a really weird mechanic that might screw something else up or just screw the overall feel of things, so it bears some thinking about.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Toady:So there are a lot of issues like that right, you could [...] just dig a one tile deep channel around your fortress and they wouldn't be able to cross it, and just have a little drawbridge like some people have; or you could have your fortress sat up on a cliff, or use doors ... there's a million ways to stop them, so what we've got to do, and this is the trick I was talking about with analysing the map - it's not a really trivial problem but it's something that's surmountable - is that from the edges of the map, whatever edge of the map they enter in, the game ultimately should be able to make a goblin be able to reach any other part of the map, through various devices. That could include bashing down a door, placing a bridge, piling up dirt, using a tower, using a rope - grappling hook type things - just being able to climb. There [are] different solutions to different configurations of the terrain and we just have to put those in one at a time and eventually they should be able to take out any static defences or defences that are simple like closing doors. I know people are going to come up with really clever [defences], you know, [a] bunch of bridges moving around in weird ways and thing, that they can't figure out, and we'll just have to work through them one step at a time. But that's definitely one of the huge problems with sieges [...] they don't understand the terrain at all, and they don't think about it. Right now they're just like 'where's a dwarf? I want to go kill a dwarf' and then they're 'oh I can't get there, oh well'. It's really tragic, the ability to change the map and make buildings has completely outpaced the artificial intelligence, especially for sieges. The path-finding in general is pretty bad in the game; they can get through labyrinths and stuff well, but they can't really handle unusual terrain situations. It's one of those things where the whole path-finding system needs to be re-written for dwarves in general and [for] these other problems we were talking about like animals being able to climb down ropes when I had them, because I can't have a system where animals can't climb ropes until I change the path-finding. But for sieges fortunately it's not all down to the whole path-finding rewrite, those can actually be fixed before the path-finding rewrite, because overall when a siege arrives they just need to make a general analysis of the terrain and come up with a few little plans for how to make the terrain conform to the regular path-finding routine just by changing things a little bit. That'll lead to some of these things like digging and other map modifications.
Rainseeker:Are you planning on allowing trap disarming in fortress mode?
Toady:It seems like a reasonable thing for people to be able to do. Now, that doesn't mean they'd just be able to spot them and do it; they'd probably disarm a trap after they saw how it worked on somebody else. It's certainly reasonable that they should be able to do that; you can't expect a hallway with no dwarves in it and just some mechanisms to stop a hundred people; you might expect it to stop two or three enterprising individuals who are trying to make it into your fortress, just like one of those archaeologist flakes or whatever. But stopping that many people; they're going to think of a way to surpass it and they should be able to do that so that you'd have to support your traps by harassing people and making them run into them and so on, even if they know about them. Otherwise you should expect - eventually when we've got this worked out - for a trap that's done its job to be dismantled or otherwise dug around, or whatever they need to do, and within a given stretch of hallway that might make them more suspicious of other traps being there and they might actually be able to spot ones that are similar to the other trap. There's some kind of heuristics they might need to do that, just you know, block out an area: 'we've been hit by a pressure plate here', and then they'd keep an eye out for other pressure plates in that hallway, say. These are all things that need to be added kind of one step at a time so the sieges will improve by one step, then they'll improve by another and by another and by another, and we're planning to do this over a series of releases while we work on some other things. So hopefully it'll be interesting enough by the time it's far along that you have to think a little bit; it'd be nice if people had to think a little bit about sieges rather than doing what they do now which is just set up a simple countermeasure or impose an artificial challenge on themselves.
Capntastic:[1c]So do invaders actually have goals when they invade, like 'we're going to beat these guys up, we're going to steal their children' or something?
Toady:Yeah. It's sad right now, of course. The goals depend on the critters. The humans goal is just to kill everybody. The goblins, when they send a large invasion, their goal is just to kill everybody. The elves are there to shoot a certain number of arrows or until their group gets spotted prematurely; they aren't trying to kill everybody, but they're just trying to mess with you. And if snatchers or item thieves come, which is another kind of invasion, they're just trying to make it out, and their escorts if they have any work like the elves, they just try and bother you a little bit and distract you. But that's about it; ultimately when we get to the ... it might even happen before we improve sieges because we want to have real armies moving around rather than generated armies before we start working on their artificial intelligence ... at that point, when real armies are moving around, they'll have way more of a reason to be moving where they're going and this'll tie into the world generation wars and why they're being started and why they're being continued in fortress mode. So you might actually have a siege that doesn't feel like it needs to go all the way, or where they're just trying to do something that isn't purely genocidal or whatever. That should also improve the feel of the sieges and so on. It would be cool if a bunch of humans arrived but then somebody came forward to talk to you and you actually had another dwarf come out and have a meeting.
Rainseeker:That'd be awesome! A little discussion before the fight, I like that ...
Toady:Yeah, there's a lot of cool things that ...
Capntastic:Dwarf trash talk, I love it.
Ampersand:[While] the elves just try and hang out in the woods and shoot your workers or something.
Rainseeker:That's true; they're just there to assassinate your loggers.
Toady:Yeah, and bring some snacks back home.
Rainseeker:[1d]Is there ever going to be a time when goblins actually come and say 'we demand tribute, and then we'll go away?'
Toady:Yeah I mean there should be, they already do that in ... I mean they don't, I guess ... actually I don't remember if they do ... is it just the humans that do tribute relationships? Because there's these fake tribute relationships in world generation that aren't realised in any way. You could start in a fortress where every other fortress in your civilization is paying tribute to humans and you just don't hear or have anything to do with it. That kind of thing is ... I think all that stuff is up on dev next which means we're kind of starting to think about how it's going to work. It's all coming; we have this thing up on the future - post version one - goals about actual complicated diplomacy, whatever that means, where we'd actually be thinking a lot more about arrangements and individual goals and so on; but we're going to be doing a lot of that also in the pretty short term here. With things like tribute it's going to require ... I don't want to point everything back at the caravan arc because that became kind of a habit ... Really what that is shorthand for 'sites have resources and things are tracked', so that's going to have to happen kind of soon too, especially when you start sending armies out which is one of the things right after sieges are improved quite a bit, there's already going to be armies moving on the world map at that time, and your dwarves are also going to be able to send out armies after sieges are improved, and at that point we've got to start thinking about things like supply lines and so on. There's a sense in which that could be aggravating, but I think it really improves the flow of wars and so on to have to worry about that kind of thing so you just don't have strange things happening like some army marching from town to town without taking anything, just killing everything, without being supported. What I'm getting at, though, is [that] when you've got supply lines where an army's being supplied it's similar to paying tribute, to moving goods around in that way, which also goes back to the caravan arc. It's kind of a race to see which one's going to go in first, but people are going to be moving stuff around; at that point things like guys coming to you and demanding things of you instead of just trying to kill everybody would be easily attained, which would be cool.
Rainseeker:I guess one of my questions was [1e]'is there a possibility through the siege mechanisms to start eliminating entire populations?' if the goblins keep throwing populations at you eventually they'll be down to women and children in there.
Toady:That would teach them not to be so eager, and that's the kind of thing ... right now one of the reasons we wanted to put in the actual populations and armies moving around before we work on siege AI and stuff is partially concerns like that, what is actually going on in the world should dictate what's going on at your fortress in terms of sieges and so on. They should have to exercise some patience. There's also the matter of right now - which might be more of what you were getting at - sieges are sort of an all or nothing affair. Two hundred goblins arrive doesn't necessarily mean that all of your dwarves or two hundred goblins have to die. Right now some of them run off but they're not that good at that most of the time. Most of the time a lot of them will just get killed. I don't remember what the numbers are, because people throw all kinds of things out, but there are certain situations where if ten percent of the people in an army died that was considered bad whereas in this game that's nothing at all. If we start reflecting the actual numbers then it would probably profit the game, especially as civilizations and so on start to interact more. Now, there [are] always going to be situations like getting caught by a dragon where the numbers are going to be a little higher than you might have wanted, but that's part of the fantasy territory. I suppose there were situations in real life where entire armies were cornered and killed, so ... It just shouldn't be on an open field like it is with the sieges sometimes.
Capntastic:[1f]So will sieges tie into wars? Will you be able to siege other peoples and then it'll show their place, maybe in the far future?
Toady:Well maybe not so far as we think, because like I was saying, right after improved sieges we want to let people start sending guys out, and there's going to be a lot of reasons to do that; if the kobalds keep sending little guys over to take your things, you might want to make a punative expedition and send twenty really well armed people out and go into their cave ...
Toady:I'm sure there's going to be a lot of things that people do to abuse the poor mechanics as they're added. Then with the larger wars and so on ... we always liked that Civil War documentary, the Ken Burns Civil War documentary, where you get to see all the little lines, the little blue and red lines and so on - or whatever colours they were, red and red or blue and blue, I don't remember anymore - but being able to go to those mid-level maps, the ones that you see when you're moving the rectangle around when you're embarking ... So your fortress is a portion of that, say it's a six by six in a sixteen by sixteen area, but since the map is all seamless now in most respects, like you can't slide your sight rectangle between two map squares, but you can keep it within one map square - now that's an artificial distinction we're going to get rid of at some time - but in general the entire map is seamless, so you could take those sixteen by sixteen maps, stitch them together and get a pretty large battlefield that's sort of a zoomed in world map, and then you can imagine those lines. In general that's going to require upping the numbers, which is something we're planning to do, there's kind of this conflict - and it ties back in to what Rainseeker was saying about populations being diminished too fast - we want more people, we want to be able to have thousands and thousands and thousands of people - not on the screen at one time, but actually having world populations that are more reasonable, because it'll make a lot of mechanics of the game more reasonable and easier to do. Because right now it's like those cannibal tribes that go and pick off one or another guy or so on, sending twenty people at a time; and that's not quite what we had in mind for a fantasy world with fantasy wars and stuff. So ostensibly you should be able to send out thousands of people and arrange them in lines and then siege a goblin tower with different approaches and so on. The main problem would be that you'd be restricted; if you ever zoom in you'd be restricted to having just a smaller number of people, while at the same time a fight could be raging on off-screen with further people. The main problem area this ties back to is fortress mode; what happens if twenty thousand goblins are knocking at your door, what exactly is going to happen there? And we've thought about that quite a bit in terms of ... we're talking about a fortress that's very old, that's had large numbers of things popping up around it, and you've got control of thousands of people outside the fortress and so on, and of course there's a million things that need to be considered that we don't really have time to talk about, just in terms of your industries and so on. But, say that these larger numbers came up; you'd first be able to contest them outside your fortress with larger numbers, with larger army battles; but if they did make it to your fortress and sieged the actual fortress where you've only got your hundred, hundred and fifty guys running around, then they'd have to keep their numbers lower too to keep things fair, or just to keep things running with the CPU. But they could send in two hundred guys or something and you could have your standard sieges, and now if they had twenty thousand people they could do that a hundred times, but we just have to artificially set things up so that that's not how it works, or if it does maybe supporting their supply lines would be what causes them to leave if you keep winning, or just being depressed would cause them to leave if you keep winning and so on. There are things to be figured out there, and things to watch out for when you inflate the numbers like that, so we're not 100% exactly what's going to happen, but we would like to have large battles with tactical and strategic elements, and so on.
Capntastic:Like Battle Champs.
Toady:Yeah, that was a great game ... Battle Champs was a fantastic game.
Capntastic:I like how it had airships and bears and stuff ... I think?
Toady:What, in Battle Champs, or in Dwarf Fortress?
Capntastic:Yeah, it had like an inordinate amount of detail on the different civilizations having just (inaudible)
Toady:Yeah, I think one of the things that's going to even improve sieges better before we worry about the rest of the stuff is when they start recruiting beasts and having guys come in riding dragons and stuff. That should cause some shaking up of the status quo as far as sieges being silly ... I'm not sure about airships, they're reasonable enough themselves, having things floating around ... the less steam the better though, as far as I'm concerned, steampunk and all that kind of thing, and electricity and nuclear bombs, I don't know what else people ...
Capntastic:Zeppelins ...
Toady:Yeah, with jet fighters.
Capntastic:Tactical nukes, a lot of people want tactical nukes.
Toady:I guess you could make ... if there's ever some kind of gunpowder explosive I guess you could just stick a bunch of uranium on an explosive and have a really bad dirty bomb. But who knows? I think what I've said before is [that] gunpowder is probably something that's not going to be necessarily in the vanilla Dwarf Fortress, but it's something that I'd probably support for modders. But things like electricity and steam power are less likely to be supported. Although lightning is lightning, lightning's a different matter.
Capntastic:I remember you said something like the 1400s is like the cutoff and now everyone's like looking up for proof, 'oh yea, they really had laser guns in the 1300s'.
Toady:Well yeah, the Mayans are going to destroy everything for us right? They had princes sitting on sofas watching TVs predicting the end of the world, because that's what Mayans do, right?
Ampersand:[1g]I can see a few things that would possibly trigger - when you're doing the whole improve sieges things and armies moving across the map - some things might force your hand into a war with another civilization, force your hand into attacking them even, like a stolen artifact with the kobalds, or even more abstract things like goblins kidnapping the king's son would be something I think would probably be significant in the history of the worlds.
Rainseeker:Especially if you could rescue them.
Toady:Absolutely, first of all. The thing is, I haven't thought of every situation so of course when I say 'absolutely' I don't mean to imply that I've thought of everything. But I remember we were going to do a weird kidnap [and] rescue thing back when we were doing these more fixed things. Certainly right now the people just don't care about the kidnappings enough, right? They're just like 'eh, take my kid, oh well'. I think definitely there should be - when we start thinking about the individual goals that people have, which is something that's going to start driving the wars more and more often - there'll need to be answers to those questions before they start sending goblins around. In that way when people start tracking more of their individual goals then certainly something like a kidnapped child should matter a lot more because a lot of people will be looking at their families first, like 'what is the situation of each of my family historical figures; is one of them being held prisoner? Well, maybe I should do everything within my power to change that situation'. It should certainly matter and people will probably treat artifacts like family members when it comes to that. So the answer is yes, as I think of it and am reminded of the various situations that arise in the game, I think that should definitely be a driving thing behind wars. When we add site resources and so on, you're going to have those geo-political geographical determinism type things going on, where they just want a kind of resource or they want access to the things that you've got and that should drive some of the situations. But there should also be personal matters driving situations; a lot of the stories that we're basing the feel of the game on where we wanted a fantasy story/world generator, a lot of the larger conflicts are driven by personal issues.
Rainseeker:That's true, wars aside even. It'd be really neat if you had one guy that independently recruited a bunch of people that could carry weapons and they went off and left your screen and the game tells you about it and [then] they come back victorious or they come back having people died or whatever.
Toady:Yeah, I wonder what the first one'll be. It might just be dwarves that don't like living in your fortress leaving, because right now they don't. They don't come, people stop coming, but the ones that are there resign themselves to fates worse than death.
Rainseeker:Or they have tantrums.
Toady:Yeah, they can act out, but they never leave.
Capntastic:So would it be possible for a dwarf randomly deciding to leave forever? I know that would make some people mad, it'd be like 'aah, my soapmaker left, now what I am going to do?'
Toady:I think that having it be sudden or random would be bad; I think if you're going to take something away from someone like that there should be warning signs, and when they leave it should feel like it's your fault. At that point that'd be good enough. Or there's a case like Rainseeker came up with where there's a larger action that might be beyond your control, then it's a trickier situation: should people be able to go off and handle matters? There won't be a lot of things while people are randomly generated migrants, but if migrants are coming from other areas and have situations and family and everything else that exists outside of your fortress ...
Rainseeker:I'm sorry sir but my grandmother's sick.
Toady:(pauses) Oh! I thought Rainseeker was stopping the show, because there was kind of air of silence.
Capntastic:I know, there was ... realism! He was like 'aah! I must go on a quest!'
Toady:So Rainseeker I understand, we can continue the recording tomorrow if you have to go take care of that.
Rainseeker:(more subdued) I need to leave the fortress because my grandmother's sick.
Toady:Yeah, it's that kind of thing. How much of that do you want? How much would that really mess up the game? It's one of those things that probably needs some balance but I think if you've got a fortress with a hundred people, you can always spare one, even if it messes things up a little bit [and] that kind of would be really cool. Just like with every other concern with high population numbers and so on, there's the game to be thought of. People say that you kind of have to think of gameplay first and fun before realism, all that kind of thing, but it's a more tricky balance than you might think because adding realism gives you these fun payoffs as well, especially when things work together. Having people leave the fortress might seem like it's a bad thing but the payoffs for that could actually be pretty huge in terms of what happens later in the overall story of the world, or what comes back to your fortress from that, and so on. So I think it's definitely worth considering.
Rainseeker:Yeah especially if the game could tell you the story of what happened. Sorry go ahead Ampersand.
Ampersand:There's always the possibility that you could leave it up to the player whether they are going to allow that dwarf to leave, they [could] came and ask you 'may I please leave the fortress to go take care of my affairs?'
Toady:That reminds me of the immigrant issues too, where people are like 'a group has arrived, should I be able to turn them away?' So you're right I guess, you could also be 'well now you can't leave'. It'll be like one of those bad post-apocalyptic movies where people are in the compound and then they're not allowed to go.
Capntastic:Someone was saying, 'I wonder if Toady has like a problem with immigrants because all these people show up and then people just kill them mercilessly'.
Toady:I'm not the one that kills them.
Capntastic:You put the gun in their hand.
Toady:It's not my fault.
Capntastic:No, I know.
Toady:I mean, it has the potential to be a sick game; I know people go [create] all kind of sick stuff.
Capntastic:Every other game, you're either supposed to or you're not, but this is like a psychological thing.
Rainseeker:It's a Rorschach test.
Capntastic:I know! It's like 'what do you see?' 'I see a guy cutting someone else in half with a piece of soap.'
Toady:Yeah, it's like a version of Stumpy-Wumples that isn't stupid.
Capntastic:See I don't agree with that, because I think Stumpy-Wumples should have won some prizes.
Toady:It's a fun little game ... One of those things that people tell you is that you can't be all things to all people and you have to make decisions when you're designing a game. Fortunately having things like init options and so mitigate that somewhat; it's not perfect but it keeps it open a bit. Like I was saying with the tiles and so on, sometimes there's difficult decisions that you can't have work for everybody. I try to respect it as much as I can because I know there's a lot of different kinds of people playing the game, in some cases we're the only outlet they've got for the things they want to do.
Capntastic:Stacking skulls.
Toady:Yeah I'm not sure how many skull-stacking games there are. I guess you can do that in those games with those physicsy type games like Oblivion, where there's skulls lying around you could start to stack them and they'd tumble over each other ... there might be better skull-stacking games.
Ampersand:You've got to get the skulls out of other people, that's kind of the breaking point isn't it.
Toady:Yeah ... some of them I guess you click on the bodies and they have a skull in their inventory. They used to do that in games, I'm not sure how much of that they do anymore, where you have your own body in your inventory when you click to salvage stuff from the dead bodies or scavenge or whatever they've got a skull inside of them.
Rainseeker:Well let's break away from sieges; I know we already did but let's break away from sieges, and I'm going to play a bit of cleansing music and then we'll be right back.
Capntastic:Cleansing music?
Toady:Hurray ...
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:[2]Alright, we're now back with Dwarf Fortress Talk and we're going to talk about some megabeasts. So Capntastic what's your favourite megabeast.
Capntastic:I'm a fan of the giant colossus guys who just sort of chill until they walk up to you and punch all of your dwarves in half. Because they remind me of Shadow of the Colossus, I don't know if any of you have played that?
Rainseeker:I've played that.
Toady:Yeah, I've played that.
Capntastic:Will you be able to climb things in the future, like climb a dragon and punch its brain?
Toady:There's the issue with ... It's a question of multi-tile creatures partially - which is a difficult problem - but just the fact that there's the wrestling, and even without multi-tile creatures you've got things like groundhogs that can currently jump up and bite your eyes. That's one of the problems I'm having when I was doing my groundhog tests: twenty versus a guy with a knife, who wins? If the groundhog problem is solved, which it needs to be solved - not for this release most likely but at some point - then that means that that same thing will happen to you when you're fighting a giant creature. I think it would be cool to jump up on things, beyond just Shadow of the Colossus it's a common thing in Ray Harryhausen stuff and so on. So with the large creatures I think it'd be really cool to jump up on them and climb them and swing from them and so on. It wouldn't be as dramatic visually of course as Shadow of the Colossus but it certainly would be a lot of fun.
Rainseeker:Especially if the game described you jumping, you know 'so-and-so jumped up on the dragon's back'
Capntastic:[and] stabbed it in the brain!
Toady:Yeah, you have to stab it right through the brain, where the big glowy part is. One of the things we were thinking about there ... It was kind of this idea of the megabeast being expanded to a bunch of other creatures, because I know I already spoiled the ones that are going to be underground now, right? Those are spoiled, I don't know if I'm spoiling them here or not but ...
Rainseeker:Go ahead. Spoiler warning! Spoiler warning!
Toady:Spoiler warning! Maybe I should talk through my shirt or something. So yeah, I'm talking through my shirt now; there are random critters underground and they got like random bodies and different random stuff, and they're going to be big and they're going to attack you and stuff. So, there's the spoiler.
Capntastic:It's all over now, it's all clear.
Toady:So what we're actually doing this time around is [that] that spoiler's extended to the hidden fun stuff type things like the bad bad demon demon, and also we decided to ... since we already have giants, giants are big people that walk around right, now a titan is also a big person that walks around, so given that there are two big peoples that walk around - now that's a titan in the sense it is in the game, in the sense of a mythological titan it can be all kinds of crap - and that's kind of what we're going to change over too; the titans are now going to be randomised, and they're going to be all kinds of crap, and they're going to be generally tied to a region, I'm not sure if that's always going to be the case. That should give more of [that] 'big random creatures you can kill and fight' type of vibe to the game, which would be cool.
Capntastic:Are they going to be tied to spheres too and stuff? Like a titan made of ... I don't know ...
Toady:Yeah, like big shambling clouds, with vines on them and stuff.
Rainseeker:The titan of rainbows and puppy dogs.
Toady:Yeah, the rainbow and puppy dog sphere, it's like Clifford but instead of the big red dog it's a big colourful dog.
Rainseeker:Could he be friendly, perhaps?
Toady:Well that's the thing. Beasts fall in to kinds of categories; they're either bad, or they're friendly, or they're misunderstood. There's all kinds of options for animals like that. It might tie in closely with the whole forest spirit thing that the elves have going on, there's a lot of options here.
Rainseeker:That'd be hilarious, if you had this huge rainbow-coloured dog wondering about your fortress.
Capntastic:Like Pete's Dragon. A snake oil salesman would want to, you know, bottle it.
Toady:Yeah ... I totally don't remember the plot of that story at all, Pete's Dragon.
Capntastic:Because the dragon was a cartoon.
Toady:Yeah, I remember I was talking to my brother and we were trying to think of movies that were early instances of animation mixed with live action.
Capntastic:My favourite thing about megabeasts is that during world generation they seem to be the big movers and shakers, and it's like 'oh, this giant dude punched all these dwarves out, and then the dwarves got really mad, and then they chased him around and put a (weapon) in his head.
Toady:Yeah, it's way worse now because they can't really beat him up anymore. They're like big solid bronze [statues] that walk around beating the crap out of stuff. I was running megabeasts and now it's like there's a dragon, and 'oh yeah, he's got four hundred kills'; well, I guess you're going to have to deal with him in your fortress then, instead of just reading about him being dead, which is what megabeasts are for now, pretty much; just reading about [them] being dead. It should be really cool though, the new titans; there might occasionally be a titan that looks like a person, but you should have all kinds of amorphous titans, animal based titans, different material based titans, and all kinds of stuff that should be really cool. It'll tie back into ... We had a series of inspirations there as to why we wanted to do that, [e.g.] there's the old movies like all those Ray Harryhausen things and then there's things like the weird critters that were running around in the Ghibli movies, especially Princess Mononoke [which] had the big pig with the worms and stuff, and there's all kinds of weird things like that that tie together. Then there's Shadow of the Colossus [which] was fun to play and kind of has a similar vibe to it. It should be really cool, having those critters there, and even more cool when you can actually jump up on them and so on, and get eaten by them and have to burrow your way. But just at first having a ... as long as we give them enough differences and abilities and so on, and coupled with the improved sieges stuff of having traps not be quite so good; then having a megabeast arrive should be like a big party, because you're either going to get some of the standardised ones - the standardised ones that remain then would be what, a hydra, a dragon and a bronze colossus - or you could end up with a titan and who knows what to expect then. The future of dragons, hydras and bronze colossuses as megabeasts given that they're going to have these random things to compete with ... dragons obviously have a bright future, especially because you can start a random program there as well to make interesting kinds of dragons. It's still unclear how much they're going to be individualised versus how much there's going to be a kind of dragon, that kind of thing; because both models are popular and there's no reason to choose one over the other in terms of Dwarf Fortress. [As for] the hydras ... in that sense a hydra is essentially just a dragon; it's a dragon with a bunch of heads. In mythology I guess there was poison and so on, so that stuff can start to run together a bit, and the bronze colossus is kind of an outlier, it's just this big statue because we thought it was cool in Jason and the Argonauts, right? So it might change a little bit, but that's mainly to make it not impossible to kill.
Rainseeker:Speaking of the bronze colossuses; could it possibly be that you have it be connected together with a bunch of bolts or something that could fall off and that's the way you could kill it even if it's solid.
Toady:I guess one of the things to consider is why is it there? Was it made by somebody?
Capntastic:Some sort of supernatural intervention.
Toady:I don't remember anymore, but was the one in Jason and the Argonauts made by Hephaestus or something? So created by a forge god type thing, right? Then there's the idea; could they have been made by old dwarves, then you have the problem of, well, can your dwarves make them? And then you get into the whole automaton segue into steampunk and so on. Then there's just them being ... or are they some kind of bronzey spirit of nature type thing, that's just kind of wondering around, causing trouble.
Ampersand:I don't know if you've ever played Morrowind or anything, but in the lore of Morrowind or Daggerfall even, the dwarves did in fact make a gigantic mecha.
Toady:Yeah, they had all kinds of steam automatons, right? I remember ... no I won that game, I think, if you're talking about the big statue at the end. So there's a notion of dwarves there, just ... there's something about steam [that] bothers me, I don't know why. Having all these steam powered ...
Ampersand:I don't think their giant machine was steam powered, it was part of Lorkhan ...
Toady:Oh yeah that's right, there's magic and stuff, and we don't have a whole lot of that, but we should, yeah. I don't remember what our thoughts on automatons were completely; I believe that having something like an intelligent automaton walking around would be an artifact type situation.
Ampersand:Well you already kind of do have some kind of automatonic zombies, right?
Toady:Who knows why they're coming back? They're just in bad places, it's like Reaper Man, I've got to get this car out of this bad area ...
Rainseeker:[3]Let's talk about spheres for a second. Are the zombies, skeletons, undead and such; are they going to appear only in the undead region sphere now? Or will they come in other areas too.
Toady:It depends on one of those things we were talking about, like do undead have souls, and what is the undead? If it's somebody combing partially back to life then it could be any sphere that's related to death or rebirth even; it's kind of weird to have the sphere of rebirth have undead things but it's possible.
Rainseeker:They're good zombies, maybe.
Toady:Yeah, they're good zombies, with little fairy hats and stuff ... whatever a fairy hat is. But then there's the notion of just animating a corpse, and that's the purview of death or if brooms and stuff are also moving around then it's more of a regular magical thing. But there's also the notion of having some kind of spirits from the underworld populate the body, then that could be any kind of evil.
Ampersand:There's also another concept of it being a disease that is passed between individuals.
Toady:Yeah, there's the viral zombie model ... [and] there's also the radiation zombie model I guess. So the viral thing, I don't know ... are they dead? Or are they ...
Capntastic:Their brain's just messed up by like ...
Toady:Yeah, viruses. I guess what the 28 Days Later model is it's just sort of a viral rage thing, but they aren't actually dead; is that correct? And then they starve to death. So any of those is fair game as they come up. Now, the undead that'll come in at first; I still have evil regions in this release so things will probably be the same as they were before, and then as I move over to sphere-based regions then at first it's going to be just kind of a death thing I guess, and to make them fairly common those will just be common areas. The whole idea of undead in general is going to be generalised to the notion of a curse, and that could just be some random sphere thing: there could just be a bunch of fire dear, and fire elk, and fire chipmunks and the fire man; that's kind of the cheesy thing that you'd expect out of the game after a while. Of course we can get more sophisticated but you don't start there. Then there's these notions of things like infectious diseases and so on, which we were going to do - not as undead or anything - but just the notion of an infectious disease was going to be part of this release with the venoms, but it was one of those things I had to red out on the list, that I couldn't do diseases because I don't have the time. But anything that's red on that list is pretty much fair game on the short term so I'm not sure what's going on after this. But you can start to move to more and more sophisticated disease models - not just models of their spread which aren't ever going to be that sophisticated in Dwarf Fortress - but just their effects, as we get more and more venom effects and so on; that could actually ... like if you had a venom that can alter your behaviour then you can have a disease that can alter your behaviour. We already have berserker dwarves, so it wouldn't be that far of a step to have a venom and then an infectious disease that can make you berserk, and then you've essentially arrived at the 28 Days Later model.
Rainseeker:Which is really bad news if you have your legendary champions crazy.
Toady:Yeah, you'd have to lock yourself ...
Capntastic:Erm ... maybe not so much. They could just bite someone in half.
Ampersand:They could be the solution to a lot of problems too.
Rainseeker:Assuming that you went crazy on the battlefield and not inside your fortress.
Ollieh:(musical interlude)
Rainseeker:Okay well we're back, we're going to ask some questions now from the forum. I'd like to start [by] offering the ball to Ampersand ... let's see what you want to ask.
Ampersand:Allright, this is a question from Armok on the forum [who] seems very concerned about trees. There's a very long and detailed question, I'm going to compress it down to one little thing; [4]'Are tree nerds going to get any love?'
Toady:Tree nerds? Love? Well, given how geology went, I'm assuming - because we've got lots of botanist's resources, and so on, my father was a botanist for a little while when he Masters degree in botany, and my mum has a giant garden and prepares plants to this day; always goes to plant shows, and has this giant garden [and] will go out in the woods all the time - I'm assuming that when I finally get to trees and not just trees but other plants, that there's going to be more excess, if that's what you mean.
Ampersand:He's asking for stuff like trees getting individual tissues ...
Toady:Yeah, they're clearly going to get the animal treatment and it's not just for the sake of pure excess but it's because if you want things like trees to pick up and walk around and you want trees to be interesting, and just trees to fit into the general system it needs to be that way.
Ampersand:He's also [asking about] stuff like circulatory systems in trees, bringing water up from the ground.
Toady:There's certain things, like if you want to actually see which flows are flowing which way and how much nutrients are flowing around and stuff ... well it's not going to be more than creatures have and creatures don't really care much about their blood right now either; it's not tracking the molecules and stuff. There's going to be certain excess in the trees, and I'm sure some of the tree people will be happy to have tree-type things that are more treeish than what you generally get when you're modelling trees, but I don't remember every concern he had; I saw that post, it was a large, green post.
Capntastic:I think the important thing is that the stuff you do end up modelling is realistic; kind of like the geography or geology stuff, kind of like the rocks ...
Ampersand:It doesn't need to be perfect as long as it's serviceable.
Toady:Well and as long as there are a few things for the tree nerds to be happy about; we like happy tree nerds.
Ampersand:Maybe you could (inaudible) up the sap even more, probably be ...
Toady:Yeah, for the extracts. All of the extracts that we've currently got in mushrooms and all that kind of stuff, for all of that to be fit in to the creature system would be cool, like if a sweet pod was actually like a sweet pod, instead of what it is now [which] is just a list of materials. There are plant materials now, plants get ... you can have a plant with several materials, but they're just associated to different jobs and so on, rather than being something that has something to do with the plants structure, and that should probably change, especially if you want to tie them into creatures.
Capntastic:Let's see, I have a note-card here, let's see ... oh I was drawing on it. Ok; Gflex, from the IRC asks, [5]'Will the new cavern system exist in every biome?' I think he means will there be the chance for like an underground lake to exist in the middle of a field that doesn't have a mountain on it.
Toady:Yeah, right now, yes, everything is everywhere. I think it might cut off the top two layers in the ocean just because I was running out of space and you never really go down there anyway, because the ocean is deep down. But everything else is everywhere; they're probably more independent than they should be. Certain places that don't have water have water deep down, but certain places that don't have water shouldn't have water deep down either; so some of it's even a little weird, but no matter where you start your fortress ... It's not like, especially ... The main concern would be - in the game now I think everything's just in the mountains, right? - so it's definitely different from that, they're everywhere.
Ampersand:[6][Soadreqm]'Will animals be eating soon?' like wolves devour a corpse, not like having to eat.
Toady:So like predatory interactions and stuff. There's a goal for the ... so right now there's some - I don't remember if there's a bloat or whatever - but it says 'getting rid of this whole peaceable kingdom model we have right now, where the lion is next to the sheep who's next to the elephant, and they're all cheerful together and they just don't like you. That should definitely change, I mean there shouldn't be wolves coming on killing things all the time, but you definitely want to see stuff like that occasionally. And in things like adventure mode it'd be fun to wonder around and see the animals being animals instead of being whatever it is they are now that doesn't act at all like regular animals. It's kind of silly the way it is now, and it's not that hard to change, but it's one of those things that also isn't super high on the priority scale compared to other stuff, but it's something that I'd like to change at some point. Further, I don't remember if there was an element of that question that had anything to do about livestock eating or your pets eating but that's a whole other can of worms, because it used to do that, but it was bad, because they can eat you out of your fortress; like a deer would go to your barrel and whip a mushroom out of there and eat out of the barrels and stuff, a pet deer or whatever. Yeah, it's just a lot of trouble so [we] have to be careful when we put it back in.
Rainseeker:I have a question - this is from Pie - [7]'Will dwarves ever be able to figure out an order for digging on their own, that doesn't involve their death or trapping?'
Toady:I imagine he's talking about like digging a channel and then becoming surrounded or something like that?
Rainseeker:Yeah, I believe so.
Toady:We already have how to do that and so on, we just need to do it. I imagine there are some configurations where it's difficult, but certainly for digging and placing floodgates - things that get them trapped in stupid ways - yeah, we're definitely going to fix that; not quite sure when again, but we know how to do it and it shouldn't take that long.
Ampersand:That kind of relates to one thing I noticed about the path-finding system that's used with - it looks like - sixteen by sixteen blocks ...
Toady:Yeah, there are a lot of times when you get this artificial behaviour stuff where people start from the north west or whatever; a lot of that needs to be fixed, some of it's harder to fix because the distance calculations would require doing a pathfind, which would be expensive. But it can be fixed over time, especially if the pathfinding system gets a revision.
Rainseeker:[8]Something that the community's really excited about is the new arena mode. Is that going to be at all connected to the other modes, or is that totally separate?
Toady:Oh right now it doesn't even load your world, it just loads the raw folder from your world. They're completely separated right now, and it's just for testing. Now there are notions - associated notions - like having an arena in adventure mode and so on, and that's a different thing, that's a completely different thing. So right now it's just kind of to test things out and read the combat reports and so on.
Rainseeker:What I was thinking [was that] it'd be fun to be able to grab your adventurer party or your dwarves and then plop them in there and then grab a titan or whatever and plop him in there and have them duke it out, in an artificial environment where it's not actually affecting your fortress.
Toady:Yeah, I guess that gives rise to an ambivalence over the whole arena concept in general because right now when the game is released it will be put together with the arena off, you'd have to go into the init file to turn it on, because if you can just create a dwarf with an adamantine sword fighting two dragons it kind of messes up the experience when it happens in your fortress if you're a new player. There's a lot of things here that need to respect the new players. And in the same way if you can just go into your fortress, pick your favourite champions out, pick out the megabeasts and then have them fight; it's something that should be kind of a default off world ... I'm not totally against it, but I think it should be something that's a default off world parameter setting, so the world parameter setting would be something like 'can nab historical figures for arena play' and then you can set that to 'yes', and that means that you've created that world knowing that you can spoil it for yourself. I don't really mind any kind of spoiler type stuff that you do yourself, as long as it's not the default behaviour, and as long as it's not super super easy accessible press of a button 'hey I can mess up my game' type of thing. I think it is really important for new people to see their first dragon when it's attacking their fortress, blowing the crap out of them or whatever.
Rainseeker:The13thRonin from the forums asks; [9]'Do you ever play any of the mods for Dwarf Fortress in your spare time, and if so which one is your favourite?'
Toady:I guess the short ... I just haven't, I haven't done it. I read about them, I know people like orcs and so on, to kill them, but I haven't tried any of them myself. I guess I've seen mods when I load, because oftentimes I'll get a bug report and the save will just be a total conversion or something, and so they need to send their mods. So I've loaded up fortresses before and I'm like 'these are all dragon men'; so I've seen them there, but I've never played with a mod, because it's kind of like if I wanted something in the game, I'd probably just put it in. When it comes to that kind of thing, and I'm not really curious about how playing with other races is, because I know it's kind of buggy, and I know I want to more fully support it later, so I haven't really tried it out.
Ampersand:[10]Do you ever plan on having some HFS that isn't immediately out to kill you?
Toady:Um ... so, now when we say HFS we're referring to the stuff that's underground, and a creature instead of just a location or?
Ampersand:I'm talking about any hidden feature that's just not immediately apparent ... something that would be considered spoilers, basically.
Toady:So a non-violent spoiler? Right now I don't think there's anything, at least nothing that has been found. People have discovered the other little jokes and Easter eggs I've put in; I think everything's been found now, except maybe one thing.
Rainseeker:Ooh, tell us what it is.
Toady:I don't remember ... Has everyone found all of the adventure quitting jokes? Because there are a couple of them, there's the retirement joke and the quitting joke; those are the only ones I wasn't sure if people had found them or not. Because you have to stay in the same place and do nothing for a long time and then try and quit, and it'll tell you a joke. But yeah, as far as Easter eggs ... because I wasn't sure, see the thing I wasn't sure about with the question is like, is it just about other Easter eggs or does it mean, will there be peaceful large creatures or something? Because that's ...
Ampersand:(largely inaudible: When you've talked) about the Hidden Fun Stuff, it's obviously the stuff that's deep underground, and ...
Toady:Well I guess if you mean will I suddenly open up a giant happy gem chamber with the gnomes that say 'come, here is our treasure', I guess that's fair. We haven't done anything yet, but certainly having everything underground not be completely evil is a reasonable suggestion. It's not something we've really done a lot with though; it's still pretty bad down there.
Rainseeker:In some ways it's easier to have everything attack you.
Toady:Yeah, it's like ... what would you put down there that isn't already just good mineral veins and stuff? It would be some kind of buried temple with golden chalices in it or something, and some of those things feel weird to add without having fuller notions of gods and magic and stuff.
Ampersand:There's also stuff like other fortresses that are lost and abandoned.
Toady:The problem with that comes to world generation and the fact it knows where everything is, and if you add lost dwarves they'd be dwarves that were not accounted for in the historical figures with their location. It's not unreasonable because the forgotten beasts are like that - the ones that live underground - but the ... I'm not trying to explain why I don't have the stuff, or I'm not trying to explain why I'm never going to have the stuff, I'm trying to explain why there's a bit of inertia to adding a diversity of things, rather than just adding simple underground diversity. I know people have asked for all kinds of things, there was that giant underground diversity thread and we've only scratched the surface.
Ampersand:Like the giant land turtle, presumably that was ...
Toady:Yeah there was a giant thread wasn't there ... People will probably be disappointed, but there'll be stuff down there anyway.
Rainseeker:I have a question here from ILikePie, and the question is; [11]'what will you be able to do to the exposed guts; can you rip them out, cut them apart, etcetera?'
Toady:Well I have a bloat up there for all the wonderful things you'll be able to with the exposed guts. Strangle other people with them, strangle the victim with them, chop them up and set them on fire; all that kind of thing. Right now you can do a few things with the exposed guts, I believe. The one I haven't tested yet is that I believe if guts have popped out then you can just hack them with your sword as kind of a random attack, just like any other attack. The one I have tested is that if the guts have popped out you can grab them and pinch them. So we haven't fully realised the promised of exposed guts yet, but I'm betting that over time it'll become an intriguing game mechanic, the exposed guts. But right know it's not that interesting, they pop out, but pinching someone's guts doesn't bother them as much as having them have popped out in the first place.
Rainseeker:ILikePie also asks - as kind of a follow up question - he says; 'Do you like pie?'
Toady:It depends on the kind of pie, like with everybody. My favourite pies are ... I like key lime pie, and I sort of like lemon meringue pie. I'm not really into big chunks of fruit and stuff, but yeah, so I like certain pies, it's true.
Rainseeker:I have a question here from Neonivek; [12]'So from the first time I heard Toady mention that gods will be wandering around their world, however extrapolated it is, I have been interested to know how far gods will go. Will gods have roles, jobs, [and] goals on their own planes? How will people outside the heavens even know what goes on there? And lastly, how will you represent the timescale gods work at?'
Toady:So, it's not clear right now exactly what's going to happen. Right now the gods are fake, right? Essentially what's going to come in over time, I guess, are more along the lines of just those kind of Greek mythological tinkering and so on; I don't really have ideas about anything like it would be handled in D&D or something, where they just are like power ups or whatever. It should be based on their little personalities and so on, and what little things they want to do. As far as, within their own hierarchy, there's a lot of notions about celestial hierarchies. You can have a king or queen of the gods that orders the other ones around but it depends on what their goals are, like you were saying. So it's like, 'what do you want them to do?' and 'what kind of weird mystical stuff is there that people don't understand?' Unless you can take part in it it's not that important, or it's even hard to define. We were thinking of letting you do that later on, actually letting you assume the role of some kind of deity over the world perhaps, with other gods as well, and at that point [the] kind of things that gods actually have to do as relates to each other and not to the planes themselves become more important. As far as timescale goes, it's hard to say again, mostly because things can work in Dwarf Fortress in a couple of ways. You either work at the timescale moving forward as slow as adventure mode and dwarf mode speed - it can go any speed as long as it's moving forward - or you can pause time. Going backward or anything like that is basically impossible without just scrapping and abstracting or whatever so, if you're talking about weird time-travel type stuff it's basically going to be impossible. But if gods worked at the one- stepping speed from Dwarf Fortress where you can move forward a little bit and then do something, like in dwarf mode you basically have control over time in that way, or if you want to pause time and jump between different places and so on ... certainly anything that's within the power of a god to do should be easy to do. But like I said we haven't quite thought about specifics there, especially the kind of intra-godly politics type stuff you were talking about.
Rainseeker:This is from Broose; 'How often do you play Dwarf Fortress just for fun, if at all?'
Toady:I used to play it a little bit more, especially ... I'm kind of fan of just ... at least back when - I don't know how well you can really choose tasks and run around now - but it was always fun to just attack a cave over and over in adventure mode. I usually only play dwarf mode before I'm testing a release, but when I do that I can get pretty into a fortress for a while, although usually I end up just stopping and fixing bugs and stuff when I see them and so on. So it gets to be a bit of a hassle; it's hard for me to sit down and just play it now. One of our goals for starting this thing was to make a game we could play ourselves, but it's not quite to that point yet; I think when we add a bit more with diplomacy and inter-civilization stuff, or get adventure mode up to the point where it's fun to play, because it's not that fun to play, especially if you consider it from a role-playing perspective, it's just not that fun. Once those are a little more fleshed out, I'll probably find myself playing the game more, but as it stands now I don't play that much outside of testing.
Rainseeker:We can hear Scamps there in the background.
Toady:Yeah, he's been locked out of the room for what, three hours now? The idea was to make it so that he didn't disturb the call, but I guess he's doing his best to get on. If you can hear him, that's him.
Rainseeker:I have one from Hishan, [who] says; [13]'What do you think about the 3D utilities for Dwarf Fortress, like 3Dwarf, Lifevis, or Khazard, and would you ever consider using such a system in the main Dwarf Fortress program?'
Toady:If you want to consider it, the visualiser is such a system. It's garbage, but clearly I don't mind the overall concept of having a 3D representation or something, and I think it's cool that those are there so that people can see their fortresses. I get a little more uncomfortable when it moves over to the territory of 'we're going to have a 3D interface for the game, and write a whole frontend' or whatever; but to the extent that they [are] static visualisation programs, I think they're really cool and I think it's great that people can see their fortresses; and I've really enjoyed a lot of the pictures I've seen. People posting like giant bridges, giant statues, and cathedrals and all kinds of things that they've been working on; I think it's really cool. For me to actually sit down and do something like that; obviously my first attempt was a total failure, so I'm not really eager to get back into myself but I could do it at some point.
Rainseeker:I really do enjoy the one of the huge dam with the dwarf carved into the side of it.
Capntastic:That one's amazing ...
Toady:I don't even know if I saw that one, because I've only seen certain ones and I haven't seen any recently.
Rainseeker:Do one of you guys have that ... oh yeah, this is it here, Tarn; it's the first spoiler one.
Toady:Oh yeah, it's funny I've seen that picture but I didn't even notice the face ... Am I an idiot? There it is, a big green face.
Capntastic:I like how the visualiser has trees and stuff, that are all like ... tree like!
Toady:The slice tool in action ... yeah, just kind of highlights how bad my rivers are. Like there's these lines cutting through the nice forest landscape.
Rainseeker:Okay, I had one more question to ask you Tarn, and ... so [does] Capntastic; Capntastic, go first.
Capntastic:[14]Dear Toady, what does your day look like?
Toady:Well they pretty much all look the same, unless it's the end of the month like this, because this is an unusual day. But I get up, after noon, today I got up at three, I usually get up from one to three sometime, then I'll usually turn my computer on and look at all of the horrible things that have happened with moderator reports and so on; see what's going on on the forums and what kind of things people have done, and reply to emails and so on, that can take a lot of time. Oftentimes I don't even get a chance to program anymore; there's a lot to do up until around seven o'clock, because my brother will usually come over around seven o'clock, and then we'll plan stuff out; talk about the month end project, or talk about Dwarf Fortress, or whatever we're working on, and that can last a couple of hours. Then I usually start ... sometimes I program during the mornings, like if I don't want to do the email and stuff, then I'll start programming seriously starting in the evening after I'm done with my brother, which can be anywhere from nine to midnight, and just work until whenever the devlog goes up: five, six, seven my time. So sometimes I don't even get a full day of programming in anymore, and sometimes I can still manage my big twelve, thirteen hour things. Not a whole [lot] else goes on here so I usually go to the Albertsons that's right next to my house in the morning and get a drink, or a couple of drinks and a sandwich or something. But not a whole lot going on here ...
Rainseeker:Well the main question that I think the whole community wants to know, and this is kind of dovetailing on an argument that's been going on for years about Dwarf Fortress ... [15]How do you pronounce Urist?
Toady:Of course we haven't decided on any phonetic information for the languages yet, which is something that's going to go in; but just in my own mind or whatever, when I saw that question, it kind of polluted it forever ... I don't really know? Do I say Oo-rist, or Yure-ist, or (other - difficult to transcribe - examples)? I think I've used all of them since I saw that question. I'm pretty sure that that question had an answer before I saw it, but I don't even know. In the end I'm not sure what the phonetic information is going to be like. It's just one of those superfluous things, but it's one of those things that's fun to know as well; what the languages actually sound like, and so on. Maybe there'll be regional variations, we can have regional variations in the phonemes between the different dwarven civilizations so that some of them might say Oo-rist, and some of might say O-reest, and some of them might ...
Toady:Yeah, Urst. Or they can do the things where you add 'a's and 'r's and stuff on the end, or cut off the 't' entirely. But I have to disappoint; I don't really have an answer, I don't have an official answer. But if people want to ... you'd probably be able to change the phonemes if I put them in, they'll just be sitting there in a raw file. Although I'd hate to write up the phonetic representations of every word so probably they'll work with the alphabet representations when they're trying to come up with their phonemes. So, you'll have an answer sometime.
Ampersand:You've illustrated very clearly how awesome this game is.
Toady:Nothing but trouble, nothing but trouble coming from me.
Rainseeker:Alright guys I think we're going to close it now; thanks Tarn for all your hard work on Dwarf Fortress, and thank you Ampersand and Capntastic for helping us out here.
Ampersand:No problem.
Rainseeker:I'm Rainseeker, and Tarn would you please serenade us out.
Toady:(singing) Little baby Scamps, he's a little legend. He's a small animal, he has no tail. (singing concludes) There you go, that's all the singing you're going to get out of me. That's right, he's a little cat though.
Capntastic:That was awesome.
Toady:I don't think so, but that's alright. No we sing that song to the cat all the time.
Rainseeker:That's everybody for coming, and for listening to the podcast, and stay tuned next month for more Dwarf Fortressy goodness.
Toady:That's right, that's right.
Ollieh:(musical postlude)

Hidden track/Super special bonus section?

Toady:Let's watch the ... numbers, (singing) let's watch them go up and up and up ... or not. (singing concludes) Come on! Come on little numbers. 53 (scat singing). Come on now. Come on little numbers! Come on little numbers! Now it's recording the speakers but not the mic this time. Come on mic! Oh mic! (singing)Mikey mic mic mic mikey mic, mic, gonna get my numbers going up above 54 where they're stuck.(singing concludes)
Rainseeker:So basically right then is where I cut it.
Capntastic:Oh okay, so we're not ... are we going to listen to it now?
Toady:Nah nah, it's post ...
Capntastic:See you got me all psyched up, I'm all like, in my listening stance.
Rainseeker:I'm going to ... cleansing music, it'll cleanse your karma, your soul.
Capntastic:What song is it?
Rainseeker:It's a ...
Toady:(Guitar) There, that's kind of cleansing, it's one of those major 9th chords.
Toady:Of course my guitar's out of tune, I haven't tuned it for a while, and I've got my headphones cord [...] is going over the strings and making them all tinny.
Capntastic:Oh, that was actually Toady playing?
Rainseeker:That was him playing, yeah.
Capntastic:Oh, but is that [the] song that's going to be in the ...
Toady:No no, I was just trying to cleanse you because you seemed disappointed.
Capntastic:You're playing with my heart here.
Toady:(un-transcribable noise)
Rainseeker:You need to record that as a sound effect for your game.
Capntastic:He has something like that in Kobald Quest.
Toady:(another, different un-transcribable noise)
Rainseeker:What are the voices for Kobald Quest?
Toady:That's just me, being weird. (second one again, extended) 'There's three more for every one you kill but you gotta start somewhere!' Yeah it's still not recording ... oh bam, there it goes it just dropped two megs into the file. Come on little numbers! Come on little numbers!
Capntastic: You're playing with my heart here.

Rainseeker:Hey guys this is Rainseeker. I'm frankly quite surprised you've made it this far. I really appreciate you listening but man I've got nothing left to give. Just go play Dwarf Fortress or something.